A little boy in La Puente was struck and killed by a falling brick on Tuesday, January 15th. While playing with his sister in the family yard, several bricks that comprised an archway came loose and struck the boy who was located directly beneath them. He was just one year old.
The home, which had been the subject of Los Angeles County Public Works inspections in the past, received violation notices regarding unsafe conditions on the property. According to the father of the boy, the family was told to remove a structure that was attached to a brick arch, but not to remove the arch itself. The brick which struck the boy fell from the arch. The County is likely to review the matter before any determinations as to fault are made.
The area where the boy met with this tragedy was turned into a memorial. Neighbors and family members are visibly stunned by the loss. The boy’s father, when talking to reporters, described the phone call he received informing him that his son was dying. Like anyone who would receive that type of phone call, he couldn’t believe what he was forced to hear.
Reduce the Risk of Accidents on Your Property
People may not generally think of their yards as dangerous places, but the truth is that tragedy can strike anywhere at any time. We can help reduce the risk of tragedy occurring, however, by taking proactive steps to reduce dangerous conditions on our property and in our yards.
The first thing to consider when making your property safe is that it must be made safe for everyone who may visit the property, not just you or those who live on it. Even though you yourself may not play in the backyard or even have kids of your own who do, you will still want to regularly make the property safe. You never know when family or neighbors who visit with their young children can run into a dangerous condition on your premises.
Items which should be addressed include:
- Open pits or holes
- Sharp debris like pipes or wood planks
- Barely visible tree roots
- Industrial supplies like bricks, concrete blocks, and tools, etc.
If it looks dangerous, would probably be dangerous if misused, or has absolutely no reason to be in the yard, then it should be removed and stored properly.
In the case of overhead structures, like the kind mentioned in the news story above, attention should be given to weak or deteriorating structures. If a structure is no longer capable of performing the task which it was designed to perform, then it has no reason being on a property and should be removed.
If there is a valid reason to have something in a yard, like an ongoing renovation, then the entire area should be made off limits to visitors and children. In most cases, simply telling a child not to play in an off limits area won’t be enough to guarantee their safety. It is equally important to keep an eye on kids so that they don’t wander off into an off-limits area.
From a legal standpoint, your property is your own responsibility and should be kept up for the safety of public good (guests and strangers). As a property owner, the individual can be held liable for any injury occurring on premises if the owner has had knowledge of the existing dangerous condition.